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UConn Men’s Hockey Weekend Preview: UMass

The Huskies look to lock up a series win after a tie in November.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Live Updates

First Period

0:00- and the game is on! Maxim Letunov, Benjamin Freeman and Tage Thompson will be the starting forwards, with Derek Pratt and Wyatt Newpower the defensemen. Adam Huska in net.

0:20- Pratt gets a heck of a cross check in and he’s off for two minutes.

2:20- Pratt is out of the box. By my count, no shots on the power play and only one that went wide.

3:36- Ivan Chukarov off on a tripping penalty.

5:36- two shots on goal and one shot blocked on the man advantage for UConn. 0-0 tie.

7:38- After a lengthy review, Benjamin Freeman’s goal stands! 1-0 UConn. Ivan Chukarov is also off for hooking.

9:38- an uneventful power play for UConn but they lead, 1-0.

17:40- Johnny Austin gets the gate for hooking, UConn up 1-0.

19:40- UConn kills it in an inconsistent PP for UMass. 1-0.

20:00- a strong period for the Huskies results in a 1-0 UConn lead after 20 minutes.

Second Period

0:00- and the period is on!

3:40- a wow goal from Tage Thompson. He picks the corner and it’s 2-0 UConn.

9:17- we’re at the media timeout and while shots are even, chances and possession sure hasn’t been. 2-0 UConn.

11:17- UMass back on the PP thanks to a Justin Howell penalty. The Minutemen are 0-for-2 today.

13:17- UMass is now 0-for-3 on the power play.

17:06- Derek Pratt and Kurt Keats get incidental penalties for roughing while Tage Thompson goes for charging. UConn holds a 2-0 lead.

19:07- Shane Bear gets called for slashing as the boxes empty. UConn up 2-0, UMass is 0-for-4 on the power play.

20:00- the period is over, UConn holds a 2-0 lead.

Third Period

0:00- and the period is on!

1:07- Bear is out of the box.

1:40- UConn gets another power play. Niko Hildenbrand gets called for hooking.

3:40- UConn is off the power play.

7:38- David Drake gets called for holding. UMass is 0-for-4 on the power play.

9:38- UConn with a good kill and the Minutemen continue to struggle with the man advantage.

15:38- Johnny Austin gets called for high sticking. UConn is up 2-0 in the waning moments and the Minutemen are 0-for-5 on the power play.

17:08- Steven Iacobellis scores to make it 2-1.

18:35- UMass pulls their goaltender.

19:56- Tage Thompson makes Brass Bonanza play one more time with an unassisted empty-netter.

20:00- final! UConn wins, 3-1.

Preview

UConn Men’s Hockey (5-6-6, 3-3-2) clinched its first series win against Hockey East competition this year against then-No. 4 UMass Lowell.

The Huskies were victorious on Friday in Lowell, Massachusetts before the two teams tied in a hard-fought matchup at the XL Center on Saturday afternoon.

UConn has eight conference points, good enough for a tie with No. 5 Boston University (8-4-2, 3-1-2) for sixth place and only three points back of second place. No. 4 Boston College (13-5-1, 8-0-1) is running away with Hockey East so far with 17 points.

The Huskies have one game remaining before a 21-day holiday break, against UMass (4-8-2, 2-6-1) on Friday at XL. They already taken the trip up I-91 to Amherst, Massachusetts to play the Minutemen and it did not go so great.

UConn scored two goals in the first 3:10, and it looked like Mike Cavanaugh’s squad would cruise to a victory at the Mullins Center.

Unfortunately, the Huskies were thoroughly outplayed in the second and third period on their way to a 2-2 tie.

UMass hosted No. 12 Notre Dame over the weekend and split the series with the Irish.

The game was a scoreless tie heading into the second period before the Minutemen found their offensive stride, scoring three goals in 6:10 to take a 3-0 lead that would hold until the end of the period.

Notre Dame came storming back in the beginning of the third, scoring a pair of goals in the first 4:24 to bring it to 3-2 but UMass fought back for the 5-4 win. The Minutemen were 3-for-4 on the power play and Notre Dame was 1-for-2 with the man advantage.

Notre Dame dominated the second game, winning 3-0. They scored once in each period and only allowed 22 shots on goal. It was a physical and chippy game as well. Each team took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and a minor for hitting after the whistle.

UMass sometimes struggles to find the net, scoring 2.42 goals per game, but they have been only shut out once on the year, against the Irish on Saturday. They also have the 47th-ranked power play nationally, at 13.3 percent.

Sophomore Austin Plevy (5-5—10) scored a goal against UConn in their previous matchup and currently leads the Minutemen in points and goals. No other member of the team has more than three goals. Junior forward Dominic Trento (0-7—7) leads in assists. UMass also has five players that have played more than nine of their 14 games and have yet to register a goal, two of which are forwards.

Plevy is behind Tage Thompson (10-8—18), Spencer Naas (7-1—8) and Karl El-Mir (6-3—9) in goals and behind Thompson, Maxim Letunov (4-9—13) and Evan Richardson (4-7—11) for points.

Ryan Wischow played in net for the first game for UMass and will likely see the Huskies again after playing very well outside of the first three minutes, especially in overtime. The freshman has a goals against average of 2.60 and a save percentage of .909.

Adam Huska seems to have wrestled the top spot at goaltender away from Rob Nichols after getting the starting nod in both games against UMass-Lowell. He has a 3-0-1 Hockey East record, all of which were against top-10 teams. He is third in Hockey East with a .923 save percentage after two 30-save performances against the River Hawks.

UConn and UMass will get it going at XL Center at 6:30 p.m. on Friday on WTIC on the radio, with NESN handling television duties in New England. You can find your local station here if you live outside of New England as well as to see if the game is available.